Molecular and morphological characterization of multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus from Mexico and their insecticidal activity against Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is the most important pest of maize in many countries. Entomopathogenic viruses mainly Baculoviruses family are excellent biological control agents and therefore a viable alternative for managing this pest. The aim of this study was to determine the biological activity of eight native nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPVs) against FAW larvae. Additionally, two of the most virulent isolates (SfCH32 and SfCH15) were characterized biologically by bioassays to estimate their median lethal dose (LD50) and median lethal time (LT50), morphologically by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and molecularly by restriction enzymes. Three (SfCH15, SfCH18 and SfCH32) of the eight tested native nucleopolyhedrovirus isolates caused mortalities >98% at 168-hr post-inoculation (hpi) with a dose of 9.2×104 OBs/larva. SfCH15 and SfCH32 isolates showed occlusion bodies (OBs) of irregular shape and size (1.02-2.24 µm). The SfCH15 and SfCH32 isolates showed similar median lethal dose (5.6×102-6.4×102 OBs/larva). The lowest median lethal time (114.5 hpi) was observed with the SfCH15 isolate at the highest concentration (2.5×106 OBs/larva). The DNA restriction profiles for SfCH15 and SfCH32 were different, with their genome size being ∼128,000 bp and 132,000 bp, respectively. SfCH15 and SfCH32 isolates showed similar morphological characteristics and the highest virulence against fall armyworm. This study showed that native isolates were highly virulent against S. frugiperda larvae, being similar to other reported strains; however, field studies are required to confirm their insecticidal effect.